Marketing - Cultural Dynamics in Marketing
Cultural dimension is one of the important dimensions of international marketing environment, other dimensions being political, economic, legal, technological, geographic etc. It influences all aspects of consumer behaviour and is pervasive in all marketing activities like product design, packaging, pricing, promotion, distribution, communication etc.
Culture can be defined as a " sum total of man ' s knowledge, beliefs, art, morals, laws, customs and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as member of society."
It is the distinctive way of life of a group of people, their complete design for living.
What is Cultural Dynamics?
Man uses the media of culture in adapting to the physical, biological, psychological, social, anthropological, and historical components of human existence. Each culture evolves its own modes and norms to solve problems created by Man's existence in society.
A culture is a living and dynamic phenomenon which keeps on constantly interacting with other cultures and passes through the continuing process of adopting, adapting and assimilating.
Cultural Similarities and Patterns
Sometimes apparent similarities in certain features of culture create illusion of `sameness ' in different national cultures. For example, several nationalities may speak the same language or may have similarities in religious or racial features, but it does not necessarily follow that similarities exist in other respects as well, nor does it follow that a product or a promotional message adaptable to one culture would be readily acceptable to another.
Furthermore, within each culture there are many subcultures that can have marketing significance. For instance, in a country like the United States distinct subcultures prevail in the South, North-Eastern or Midwestern parts. Similarly, the general similarities of Indian culture are in evidence throughout the country but regional differences do exist in the cultural features that are of marketing importance.
It is therefore important to explore the possibility of existence of more than one distinct culture in a country as well as characteristics of subcultures, before marketing plans are formulated.
ELEMENTS OF CULTURE
Culture includes all facets of life. In order to obtain a total picture of a culture it is necessary to investigate every possible side of it. The main elements included within the meaning of the term `culture' are:
1. Material. Culture
2. Social Institutions
• Social organization
• Political structures
3. Man and the Universe
• Belief systems
• Arts, Folklore
• Music, drama and the dance
The cultural dimension complicates the environment in which an international marketer has to operate. Knowledge of other cultures, laws, and business practices has moved from being desirable to being essential in today's marketplace. An international marketer must therefore undertake a cultural analysis to understand the orientation and underlying forces which make the culture so that he can use the information while planning and executing his marketing plan.